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Africa

French Foreign Minister touring African countries affected by Boko Haram

media Chadian soldiers participate in the opening ceremony of Flintlock 2015, an exercise organized by the US military in Ndjamena February 16, 2015. The "Flintlock" manoeuvres unfold as Chad and four neighbouring states prepare a taskforce to take on Boko Haram Reuters/路透社

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius visited Chad on Saturday before travelling to Cameroon and Niger in a show of solidarity with the three French-speaking countries increasingly affected by Boko Haram attacks.

Boko Haram’s insurgency, which originated in north-eastern Nigeria, has recently expanded into the three neighboring former French colonies, all of which are now involved militarily.

Boko Haram attacked border towns inside Niger for the first time on February 6, and one week later an unprecedented attack was launched in a Chadian village, bringing its targets up to four.

The three countries are part of a regional force of some 8,700 troops to counter Boko Haram.

Central African heads of states also met on Monday in the Cameroonian capital of Yaounde where they pledged to release € 75 million in emergency aid to finance military operations.

However, the funds are not enough and part of Fabius’s visit is centered on calling for greater international support to be approved by the African Union and the UN Security Council, of which France is a permanent member, to fill in the gaps.

France is also providing tactical support to the region, including coordinating support between the involved countries, assisting with intelligence and flying planes over Nigeria’s borders that are providing valuable information.

Boko Haram has resulted in the deaths of more than 13,000 people and has displaced 1.5 million people since 2009.

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